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By Elise Madrick Townsend, Senior Program Administrator, and Jennifer Paul, Director of Nonprofit Executive Programs

It is no secret that our country is at a pivotal moment in our reckoning with a 400+ year history of systemic racism and deeply embedded systems of oppression. These moments can be considered an inflection point; an opportunity to use privilege to address inequity and bring about change through education or ignore what is happening and continue to use silence to perpetuate systemic racism and inequity.

The vision

The Kellogg School Center for Nonprofit Management  is in a unique position to create educational content on these incredibly complex issues. The idea was clear — our department hoped to use its position of influence to amplify the voices of those who are experts in teaching concepts around equity to help leaders create organizational change.

The process

As Nonprofit Center team members, we are passionate about racial justice and equity. And we are both still on our own personal learning journeys towards greater understanding.

Elise Madrick Townsend

Nearly two years ago, we convened a cross-functional Curriculum Task Force that helped shape a new three-day executive program called The Impact of Equity: Leaders Activating Change. The program was designed to introduce participants to the big picture concepts of diversity, equity, inclusion and understanding biases. Participants will consider how to bring these ideas back to their organizations and begin to break down the systems that perpetuate racism and oppression in the areas of recruitment, hiring and retention, external and internal communications, board governance and impact measurement.

The quick pivot during COVID-19

The COVID-19 global pandemic forced us to shift the original launch date of The Impact of Equity: Leaders Activating Change from 2020 to 2021. In the meantime, we knew we had to find a way to provide education for our stakeholders, allowing them to learn and take actionable steps toward change.

Jennifer Paul

The pandemic freed our thinking and within weeks, we produced a video series, using many of the experts that were engaged in the original program, Curriculum Task Force. We recorded and launched the Equity Essentials video series in record time and began distributing the videos through a variety of social media and web platforms.

While these short videos don’t include everything you need to know related to systemic racism and equity, they are a great starting point for your own learning journey, helping you further your knowledge and begin making change within your spheres of influence and organizations.


We encourage you to take the time to view all four Equity Essentials videos:

  • Getting Started with Minya Nance:  Explore the concepts of privilege, diversity, equity, inclusion, oppression and microaggressions.
  • Understanding Systems with Omari Keeles: Uncover structures of oppression in our society that create barriers to equity.
  • Identity and Allyship with Amy J. Hauenstein: Understand your own identity in order to begin the personal and systemic work towards becoming an ally.
  • Culture and Inclusion with Bernie Banks: Consider how to create a culture of inclusion within an organization.

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